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What is Karma

What is Karma?

Karma means action, deeds or what we do. Here we need to understand that Karma is not only what we do physically, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual actions in forms of thoughts, feelings and emotions, followed by words, speech and physical activities are accounted as Karma.

We are also responsible for Karma we encourage, discourage and pay someone else to do as well as Karma that we allow to happen or block them to happen is also accounted as our Karma at some level. All our mental, verbal and physical actions done by us, getting some else to do our allowing to happen, we are to certain degree accountable for them.

Karma Yoga
Yogachariya Jnandev, Satsanga on Karma and Yogic evolution

What are types of Karma in doing?

In the form of doing, we have three types of Karma. These are Mansika (mental), Vachika (verbal) and Dahik (physical).

Mansika Karma- All those thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires, drive forces and Chitta Vrittis are classified as Manasika Karma. Our Mental actions gradually manifest into Verbal actions. Our mental karma has a significant role in individual happiness or suffering as how we deal and process each stimulus or situation in life.

Vachika Karma- This form of Kamra includes what we speak, write and communicate with others through words. We can hurt or heal someone with our words more than anything else.

Dahik Karma- Is all our actions done by employing our body, like gardening, writing, walking, caring, cooking, working, etc.

What are the types of Karma in reference to time and fruits?

There are four types of Karma in reference to past, present and future. These are

Sanchita Karma- Karma that is stored with us, or being accumulated from our past Karmas.

Prarbhdha Karma- These are Karma which is resulting or fruiting now.

Agami Karma- It is Karma that we end up doing in future, will fruit in future from all the present Karma we are doing.

Vartamana Karma- There are instant karma or actions, we do now. These may be resulting now or changing into Sanchita Karma.

Can I be free of doing Karma?

No. As Lord Krishna explains no one can be free from doing Karma all the while we are alive. We are breathing, thinking, eating, feeling, resting, sitting, walking, talking, working and all that counts under our Karma.

How can I be free from fruits of Karma?

Lord Krishna explains that only way to be free of Karma is by doing the selfless action (Niskama Karma) and he also further says offer all your efforts to divine cause or reason.

How to know what is right and wrong in Karma?

We are living in different states of mind, society and lifestyles and what may be right for one person might be wrong for someone else. Vedanta details three fundamental self-enquiry questions to find out what is right for us when we are taking karma or making a choice. These are –

1. Am I happy to accept the fruits?

2. How would it influence my family, friends and society?

3. Does it help me to attain health, happiness and spiritual growth?

If we answer yes to all three, then it should be right choice or karma at least at that moment.

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